Prayers for Worshipers Among the Nations: Answered!
written by Jonathan Waggett, Worship Pastor (October 23, 2022)
Two weeks ago, I returned from a 15-day trip on mission to Cambodia. I could write so much about all that God allowed me to experience, and as much as I want to tell stories, and talk about the food and the culture, I’d like to focus this blog post on answered prayers.
Prior to leaving, my blog post shared the purpose of my upcoming trip and invited you to join me in prayer in two categories: for the trip itself and then my personal prayer requests.
The purpose of this trip was for the training and multiplication of worship leadership. I was sent by you and NC Baptists in partnership with the International Mission Board to come alongside of local church leaders in Cambodia. It was a two-man team. Kenny Lamm, who serves as the Worship Ministries Strategist for NC Baptists, extended the invitation for me to join him in this work. I was blown away that of all the worship pastors in North Carolina, he took a chance on me.
But I firmly believe that God knew what He was doing, and I am so grateful that I was afforded this opportunity to see missions and worship intersect. I’ve been on various short term mission trips before, but this one was different.
God used this trip to allow me to see those pieces of my heart come together in a new way.
We know that missions exist because worship doesn’t. God created us to worship Him, and worship is what every tribe, tongue, and nation will be doing around the throne for all eternity. This is why we go! This is why we dismiss our services saying, “you are sent”.
To have the opportunity to meet with other believers on the other side of the world who share my desire to reach people and lead them in worship well was just so encouraging. Alright, so let me talk about answered prayers.
1. I asked that you’d pray for preparation and travel logistics. Well, simply put, everything got done and we had safe and smooth travels. In that same prayer request, I also asked that you pray for our flexibility – the ability to go-with-the-flow while on the ground. And believe me, there were a LOT of go-with-the-flow moments and God moved so mightily during those unplanned times.
2. The second prayer request was for the teaching sessions. Kenny and I tag-team taught four different groups of worship leaders over a six-day period. This included over 200 church leaders. The days we weren’t teaching, we were worshiping with the local church, meeting with individual church leaders or missionaries, and experiencing Cambodian culture. But on those six teaching days, I was so encouraged by the eagerness and desire that they had to learn and grow. And some of the training sessions were targeted specifically at leaders who would then train others so that this effort doesn’t rest on our shoulders alone. The goal in mission work is always to equip the local people to carry on with ministry and church leadership in their context. So, I ask you to join me in prayer for continued fruit in the days ahead.
3. Speaking of fruit, my third prayer request was for the spread of God’s glory and worship among the nations. One element of this trip that was surprising and encouraging to me, was that we weren’t just training Khmer people. (Khmer is the name of the people group and the language in Cambodia.) There were missionaries from the U.S., China, and the Philippines. I believe that God is truly on the move among His people all over the world and I pray that He would continue to raise up people who feel the call to give up their lives and go for the sake of the Gospel and for all people to know and worship God.
My final prayer requests were more personal in nature: that this trip would help me grow as a leader who trains and equips people in the church for the work of ministry. And, also that God would be with Sarah and myself as we spent fifteen days apart early in our marriage. God answered these prayers as He always does. I believe that God grew and stretched me while on mission in Cambodia in ways that will benefit me and CBC here at home. He also sustained Sarah and I during those two weeks and obviously brought me home safe and sound.
Coats Baptist, thank you for your prayerful support before and during this trip. Your prayers made a difference.
And on the topic of prayer, let me share with you one last thought that stems from my time in Cambodia: Missionaries need our prayers. All the time. If you’re like me, you’re prone to praying for missionaries when there’s a missions emphasis or missions offering at church. At other times, they're more easily forgotten. I had the privilege of meeting many missionaries while in Cambodia, but I want to make mention of the Chinese missionaries, specifically.
One evening, we took a river cruise that overlooked downtown Phnom Penh (the capital city). This was a gathering of Chinese missionaries who had not gathered together for fellowship in person since COVID. These were families who have left their lives and the rest of their families behind in China for the sake of taking the gospel to the nations. And it's likely that they can never return due to the severity of persecution they would face. In many parts of the world, persecution is beyond anything we can comprehend here in the U.S. Yet they go, leaving comfort behind and risking their lives for the sake of the gospel. They go because they realize that they were once lost. And they desire for the lost to be found in Christ.
Once again, thank you for praying. I ask that you continue to join me in prayer for missionaries and for worshipers among the nations each and every day.